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Frequently Asked Questions

WHERE DO THE ANIMALS COME FROM?

1) LOCALLY FROM THE CAPE ANN AREA AND MASSACHUSETTS
Local animals are always our first priority. We take local cats and dogs not just from the Cape Ann area but also from surrounding towns and across Massachusetts. We do not get a high volume of dogs surrendered from Massachusetts because generally, pet owners in New England are more educated about pet overpopulation and have their dogs spayed or neutered or adopt from shelters who have effective spay and neuter policies in place. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about the cat population of Massachusetts. Most of our cats come to us locally through other shelters, rescue groups, or individuals who have found a stray or need to surrender their own cat.

2) DOGS MAY COME TO US THROUGH INTERSTATE DOG TRANSPORTATION NETWORKS
In addition to local dogs, we intake dogs from other parts of the United States that have extremely high euthanasia rates due to lack of spay and neuter practices and low adoption interest (areas like Georgia, Puerto Rico, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi). 

We began interstate dog intake because families and potential adopters would often contact us wanting to do the right thing by adopting a homeless dog but were frustrated by the lack of puppies in local shelters (a result of the progressive spay and neuter practices in this area). As a result, these families would turn to pet shops and breeders as their only option. Once we began participating in interstate dog transportation, these families were happy to rescue an animal that in their own state, faced very little chance of finding a home or may have been euthanized.

This program also increased visitors to our shelter and as a result, our cat population, adult dogs, senior, and special needs animals all benefited. Often those puppy adopters have a neighbor, friend or relative who they tell about some of the other animals they saw here and that leads to more adoptions for the cats and dogs in our care.

Our animal transportation program allows us to help more animals by networking with other rescue groups and facilities to ensure that as many adoptable animals are placed into new homes as possible. Different geographic areas have different animal welfare needs and transportation programs provide for a sharing of resources that improve the quality of life and placement of dogs and cats being sheltered.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR SURRENDERING AN ANIMAL TO YOUR SHELTER?

Because we do not euthanize any animal for age, lack of space, or length of stay, we must wait until an animal gets adopted before taking in another. To facilitate this process, we maintain a waiting list for local dogs and cats needing placement. This waiting list grows and shrinks in relation to our adoptions. If you need to surrender a dog or cat, please call our shelter at 978-283-6055 well in advance as we need to schedule animal surrender appointments in conjunction with our policies.

We ask owners to complete a thorough questionnaire about the animal’s personality, habits, and demeanor before surrendering the animal to our care. This information, coupled with observations by our shelter staff and volunteers allows us to identify the best needs of the animal in our shelter and in the future. Based on this information, and whenever possible, we house animals in pairs or groups. Because dogs and cats are social animals, we feel they are happier with a pal. Likewise, when dogs and cats prefer their own space, we respect this need. It is important to understand that potential housing situations can have an impact on the waiting list length.

WE ALSO CONSIDER MANY FACTORS WHEN ACCEPTING LOCAL ANIMAL SURRENDERS SUCH AS:

Shelter Capacity:
If our shelter is full to capacity, we do not have additional housing areas available for another animal. It is for this reason that we maintain an active waiting list for local animals needing placement. (If you need to surrender a dog or cat, please call our shelter at 978-283-6055 well in advance as we need to schedule animal surrender appointments in conjunction with our policies.)

Emotional/Physical/Behavioral Needs of the Animal:
In many cases, we work with animals with minor emotional, physical, or behavioral challenges. For example, we have medically treated animals prior to adoption for ailments such orthopedic conditions, dental issues, and common skin problems. We also consult with local trainers regarding behavioral modification plans for animals needing extra behavioral training. In addition, we provide mental and physical exercise for all of the shelter animals to maintain emotional and physical well being.

In spite of these efforts and exceptional level of care, we understand that the shelter environment is not ideal for animals with extreme emotional, physical, or behavioral issues. If we do not feel confident that we have the resources, dedicated staff, or expertise needed to best work with the animal, we provide appropriate resource information to the pet owner in addition to information about other potential placement options or resources such as veterinarians, behaviorists, trainers, and/or other humane organizations and rescue groups.

Age of the Animal:
We accept senior animals into our shelter and even have a dedicated Super Senior Cat Adoption Program to help senior cats find homes more quickly. However, senior pets are often more deeply affected by the loss of their families and home-life than younger animals and as a result, their physical and mental health can quickly decline in a shelter environment. Whenever possible, we counsel owners wishing to surrender their older cats and dogs on ways they can retain ownership and/or how to successfully and privately place their senior pet directly into a new home.

Safety of Our Staff and Volunteers:
Human safety is a priority. We do not have the resources or staff training to rehabilitate severe aggression in animals and thus cannot accept animals with a bite history or aggression issues that we feel would place anyone at risk. Doing so would be irresponsible and could not only expose members of our community to potential harm, but would also damage the reputation of all rescued pets.

DOES YOUR SHELTER PROVIDE ANY ASSISTANCE FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN NEED?

Yes, through the Food For Pets Program, donations of cat and dog food are collected at the shelter and regularly distributed to community members in need to ensure that they are able to keep their animal companions. For more information call 978-283-6055.

Additionally, our SPAY MAMA Program assists community members by covering the cost of a spay surgery for cats and dogs that have recently given birth. The mother and her offspring are fixed and the mother is returned to the owner while the offspring is adopted out through the shelter. Please call 978-283-6055 for more information.

We are also happy to provide referrals and information about low-cost spay/neuter options available to community members. For more information call 978-283-6055.

© Copyright 2017 Cape Ann Animal Aid • All rights reserved.
Cape Ann Animal Aid • Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter • 4 Paws Lane • Gloucester, MA • 01930 • 978.283.6055